AN attacker straddled and choked his heavily pregnant girlfriend in a shocking assault seen by horrified onlookers.
John Thompson, 40, sat on Lyndsey Klein’s swollen stomach and squeezed his hands around her throat in a field at Penshaw Monument.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Miss Klein, who was eight months pregnant, suffered a scratch to her neck and a cut to her leg that needed five stitches.
When police arrived Thompson warned officers: “get your hands off her, she’s pregnant,” and headbutted a sergeant in the face when he was taken to a cell.
Thompson, of Hadleigh Road, Hylton Lane estate, admitted assault and assaulting a police officer.
Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite said Miss Klein did not support the prosecution of Thompson, so no victim statement was read to the court.
Miss Smurthwaite said: “A witness heard the defendant shouting at her. She was crying and she fell to the ground.
“He was seen to straddle over her, sitting on her stomach, and he accepts his hands were around her throat.”
A second witness, a former ambulance driver, heard a sound “like a death rattle” while Miss Klein was being choked.
Recorder Edward Bindloss sentenced Thompson, who has served the equivalent of an eight- month sentence on remand, to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision.
The judge said: “Miss Klein was seven to eight months pregnant and, in my judgment, therefore vulnerable.”
The judge said despite the seriousness of what happened, he accepted Thompson was not actually trying to strangle Miss Klein when he had his hands around her neck – and that a suspended sentence may help him “live peacefully and happily and avoid future incident”.
Jason Smith, defending, said Thompson headbutted the police officer while lashing out and had not deliberately targeted his face.
Mr Smith said Thompson is not heavily convicted and is determined to stay out of trouble in future.